Kazakhstan has made only small progress toward democracy to justify its chairmanship of Europe's main security and human rights body in 2010 and should speed up its efforts, a leading rights group has said.
The West agreed to allow Kazakhstan to become the first ex-Soviet state to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) after Kazakhstan promised to introduce a package of liberal reforms.
In a report titled "An Atmosphere of Quiet Repression," New York-based Human Rights Watch said Kazakhstan has made only "superficial" steps in that direction.
"When it comes to exercising fundamental rights such as worship, speech, press freedom, and assembly, Kazakhstan's people live in an atmosphere that is far more circumscribed and fearful than in a country that meets its human rights obligations," it said.
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